All posts in August 2012

  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Blogging for Your Business

    How to successfully execute a blog for your business or corporate website. The phenomenon of blogging is nothing new in this era of the internet. For many years, everyone from media companies to public individuals have created their own blogs as a way to connect with their audience and share their opinions on a variety of subjects. However, many corporate companies are just starting to catch on to the growing credibility that these blogs could offer them as a communication channel for connecting with their customers. While you may never have considered writing about your industry or business before, the world of blogging has started to become more and more popular among businesses and corporations. In fact, most businesses that utilize online blogs agree that they achieve a large media effect in a world where news is disseminated and processed very rapidly. Many reports are also showing that blogs are one of the largest online communication tools out there for businesses that can actually influence public opinion and build credibility for a company. However, despite this fact, a recent list of Fortune 500 company blogs shows that only 5% of the United States’ corporations have joined the blogging arena. If…

    read more

  • What’s The True Cost of SEO?

      Transcription of “What’s The True Cost of SEO?” Shama: Why is good SEO not cheaper? I mean really, why isn’t it that you can’t pay a few hundred bucks and have the web site top of the search engines and get traffic. What goes into that? Idan: It takes time and takes a lot of resources. When we are talking about content, when we are talking about a building a web site, when we are talking about bringing out links, when we are talking about branding your product, all these things take a very long time and you cannot achieve that with just $200 where you just pay this person. Shama: It is not one person. You have a team of six that you’ve got all these people who are doing all these things for you and so it’s not just one person. I mean you do this strategy obviously for our clients at Marketing Zen but you’ve got all these other people putting in the time and effort, but the cool thing is I think with SEO especially, the ROI is so transparent. I think even with social media you’ve to got to be able to look at…

    read more

  • Sales 2.0 – How to Use Social Media to Turbocharge Your Sales Cycle

    As anyone in sales or marketing knows, the sales process is more than a blunt approach with a single message; introducing yourself by immediately asking others to part with their money is not likely to win many customers. Instead, an effective sales process is one that guides potential customers through a journey that builds a relationship between them and your brand, eventually reaching a point of acquisition before cycling back again. In the past, this cycle was mainly initiated on a broad level through carefully crafted print or broadcast advertisements, and on a more focused level through direct interaction with a salesperson. Today’s sales and marketing teams, however, have a broad range of online marketing options at their fingertips, including one that can assist along every step of the sales process: social media. From announcing your brand to the world to closing sales and assuring future success, social media can be an incredibly effective tool throughout the sales cycle. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to be using a slightly modified version of the AIDA process developed by marketing and advertising pioneer E. St. Elmo Lewis. Lewis broke the cycle down into four steps: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action….

    read more

  • Bloodhound: The Perfect All-In-One App For Your Next Conference

    One of the hottest apps on the horizon! Trade shows and conferences are a great way to connect with a number of different people in your industry, while also providing you with the perfect avenue to promote your products and services to future customers. However, while these big conferences and events are supposed to be useful, inspiring and beneficial, they can often leave many exhibitors and attendees feeling flustered and overwhelmed once they finally arrive at the event. If you have ever attended a conference, as either an attendee or an exhibitor, than you may recognize some of these familiar occurrences―collecting hundreds of business cards that you either end up losing or never look at again, hectically walking across the trade show floor trying to locate a presentation that you don’t want to miss, or simply just fumbling around at the last minute trying to figure out the timeline of events that are happening while you’re there. Unfortunately, with the number of people attending these shows and the sheer number of talks, presentations and exhibits happening over the course of the event, it can be difficult to feel as though you are not missing out on something while you are…

    read more

  • SXSW Panel Picker: Help Marketing Zen Speak At South By Southwest 2013

    SXSW is one of the most innovative, creative tech events of the year. Every single year, there are hundreds upon hundreds of technology and media conferences that are hosted all across the world. These events not only give those in the industry a chance to make important connections with other people in their field, but they also provide a great opportunity to learn about what changes are coming up in the world of social-media services and mobile technology. However, out of each of these conferences all around the world, there is perhaps no event that is more well-known or more significant that the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival that takes place during the spring in Austin, Texas. This festival, which originally started as the multimedia portion of the SXSW Film Festival in 1994, has since become host to some of the biggest names in tech. SXSW has even helped many influential start-ups get their first leg off the ground. For instance, back in 2007, a certain website called Twitter was unheard of at the time, but used the fest as a launching opportunity for their company and introduced “tweets” by installing big screens throughout the Austin Convention center. This…

    read more

  • SEO: Myth or Fact?

      Transcription of “SEO: Myths or Fact?” Shama: All right, Idan. SEO myth busting time. I’m going to tell you something I hear a lot from people and you tell me if it’s myth or fact and then correct me. Ok. You can guarantee me a top ranking. Myth or fact? Idan: Me personally? Nobody. Shama: Anybody. Idan: Nobody can guarantee you an actual ranking within Google organic results. Shama: Why? I was told this by these guys that emailed me from India. I was told that. Idan: The thing is that Google actually has their guidelines and it says that nobody can actually guarantee you, so you got to rely on that, plus it’s a free space to compete in. It’s really important to follow the rules in order to get top rankings. Shama: Google tells us pretty much that no, no one can guarantee you a ranking because guess what, we are boss, we decide at the end of the day, and no one apparently can influence their decisions, right? You can play through their algorithm, but you can’t guarantee that. Idan: Right. If people were to find guaranteed spots on Google, they would run out of business,…

    read more

  • eCommerce Tips: Avoiding Magento’s Duplicate Content Problem

    Utilize the Magento platform without producing duplicate content pages. With the overwhelming growth of digital media and social marketing occurring within the last decade, many large businesses and corporations have slowly began taking to the web more and more in order to complete a good amount of their corporate sales and research online, while also utilizing this beneficial medium as a way to connect with colleagues and other industry professionals digitally. However, it has only been within the past few years that both large and small businesses alike are truly starting to understand just how effectively they can compete online, especially for those who are looking to get their feet wet with online retailing. Whether you are a new company who is looking to start their very own retail business online, or you are a veteran business owner who is just now starting to explore the benefits of a great eCommerce site, you should be looking at a solution and platform that includes everything that you need to succeed and compete competitively with other businesses within your industry. One great platform that meets this criteria within the digital retail world is Magento. Magento is a popular eCommerce solution for businesses…

    read more

  • How Nonprofits are Succeeding with Social Media

    As social media networks began to shed their limited niche appeal and were embraced by the general public, many businesses began to take note and quickly followed suit, using the sites as an effective networking and marketing tool. But for-profit corporations and businesses aren’t the only ones who realized the marketing potential of social media. As the recently released “4th Annual Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report – 2012″ from NTEN, Common Knowledge and Blackbaud shows, nonprofits have also found success using social media to promote awareness and raise funds for their causes. Below are some key findings from the report that show how nonprofits are using social media effectively. General Trends According to the report, 93% of nonprofits are currently using social media marketing on commercial social networks (as opposed to private, in-house social networks) as part of their strategy. This number is relatively stable, increasing only 1% over 2011. The leading role of these social media efforts is marketing, with 93% of companies using the sites for this purpose, followed by fundraising at 55%. Nonprofits are also increasing their staffing “budgets” and allocation of resources; 89% of respondents indicated that they dedicate some staff time to social networking efforts,…

    read more

  • Why Review Sites Matter For Your Business

      Transcription of “Why Review Sites Matter For Your Business”: Shama: I know you also stress a lot about review sites. What is it about review sites like Yelp and others that are important to search engine optimization? Idan: Users gather information on the Internet. If it’s from your Website, from a competitor, from Yelp, from another citation, like Google Plus or Google Places or even Bing. All these citations, people go on and they place their view. If you’re not there, your competitors are. Shama: What’s a citation? Idan: A citation is basically a website, a directory, that people have their place of business. Shama: Ok so your information is linked in it. It’s kind of like a yellow pages on the Web and you have so many directories. That’s a citation. Idan: Exactly and there are so many of them. Shama: I love SEO speak. Idan: There are so many of them because different people go to different places. You may like Google Places while I may like really Yelp. I like the information on Bing more than just Google Places. It’s really important to be everywhere. Shama: One of the things that I really like about you…

    read more

  • Why Google Plus Matters For SEO

      Transcription of “Why Google+ Matters For SEO”: Shama: So, Idan, let’s talk about your favorite recent social networking site, because I know you’ve been drilling all of us here at the Marketing Zen Group, and our clients should really amp up their efforts with the infamous Google+ because a lot of people still haven’t figured it out. So tell me, what, why all of this importance on Google+, and from an SEO perspective, why are you so gung-ho about it? Idan: Well, personalized search has been a long coming. We always knew that it’s going to happen. We just didn’t know when. Even before Google+, we saw Twitter had a partnership with Google and you saw a bunch of tweets for specific keyword. Shama: I like that, yeah. Idan: Yeah, so Google definitely wants to be in the arena of social. I mean, you can get a lot of valuable data that you cannot really get all that much from just search and from just websites. Shama: So Google wants to pull in this data to better serve the users. From a website perspective, why should we care about our website in Google+? Idan: Well, one of the reason…

    read more

  • 6 Apps That Can Help Small Businesses Compete Against the Big(ger) Guys

    Guest post by Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack One of the most awesome things about being a small business owner today is the number of apps that are available to help make running a business so much easier than it was just a few years ago. It used to be really difficult for many small businesses to compete, especially in the online space. Back in the day, circa 2008 or so, if you wanted a cool website, you’d have to shell out thousands of dollars to hire a designer/programmer. An e-commerce site could cost six figures! Then you’d need a bookkeeper, a point-of-sale provider, an attorney, and the list goes on. Not any more. Today you can build a website for free using WordPress, you can get an LLC set up for a couple hundred bucks with LegalZoom and you can use QuickBooks for bookkeeping. If you have a good idea, and use the right tools, your chances of success are so much greater. My philosophy is that if someone has built an app that is going to make it easier for me to run my business, I’m going to use theirs rather than build my own. I don’t host…

    read more

  • Automation, Keywords, and Rankings! Oh, my!

      Transcription of “Automation, Keywords, and Rankings! Oh, My!”: Shama: One of the things I know is, there are a lot of companies out there and a lot of folks, I know you’re totally against this is, automated SEO. Idan: Right. Shama: Where there is a software, and there is a place and time where you can use software to assist with your efforts, but there’s things out there that people will say, it’s a software, you set it up and it will optimize the website for you. What are your thoughts on that? Is that legit? Idan: One of the things that Google absolutely told us every time is they’re not looking for something that another website can do. We don’t want the same thing on our search engine result page, with the same content, with the same title, with same METAS, same review. Shama: Duplicates are a big no-no for Google. Idan: Right. You want to see a variety of results of information people can actually relate to. When you use a search engine, you’re gathering information and every website should be different with the same relevant information. It’s very important, yes. Shama: All right, so when people…

    read more